For the second season in a row, Kyle Kuzma was the second-leading scorer for the Lakers. Last year, he finished behind Brandon Ingram and this year, he finished second to LeBron James. However, while he continued to put up decent scoring numbers (18.7 points per game) in his sophomore season, he regressed as a 3-point shooter.
Through 77 games in his rookie season, Kuzma shot 36.6 percent from behind the arc while attempting 5.6 3-pointers per game. There was a hope that his 3-point efficiency would get a nice little boost playing alongside LeBron James, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
This past season, Kuzma shot 30.3 percent from the field while attempting six 3-pointers per game. Of the 41 players that attempted six or more 3-pointers last season, Kuzma had the worst 3-point percentage. Trae Young, Devin Booker, Luka Doncic and Carmelo Anthony rounded out the bottom-five.
It’s natural for players to become less efficient scorers when they take more shots, but the way Kuzma missed shots last season was concerning. Last season, the 23-year-old forward made 31.9 percent of his “wide open” 3-point attempts and 29.1 percent of his “open” 3-point attempts. In the season prior, he shot 39 percent and 36.5 percent respectively.
Below are Kuzma’s shot charts from his rookie and sophomore seasons by area courtesy of NBA.com:
Needless to say, he has some work to do this summer and luckily, it looks like he recognizes that. On Thursday, a popular shooting coach by the name of “Lethal Shooter” revealed that he has been working with Kuzma on his jumpshot this offseason.
The shooting coach has worked with a few big names in the league, including Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore and Kuzma’s teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The latter of the two might give Lakers fans pause, but Caldwell-Pope actually finished the season shooting well from behind the arc.
In Caldwell-Pope’s last 13 games, he shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range while attempting 9.5 3-pointers per game. The reason for that? Caldwell-Pope paid his shooting coach a visit in March.
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Felt so good to be back in the gym making the necessary changes for The Art of Shooting. Due to schedule conflict I haven’t been able to train my guy KCP in 3months. I absolutely love when players instantly feel the changes that we make during that training session. God is truly good! Lakers Nation stay tuned! #LethalShooter
Will this solve Kuzma’s shooting woes permanently? Maybe not, but it shows that he recognizes the weaknesses in his game and wants to work to eliminate — or at least minimize — them.
With that kind of dedication to improving, he’ll be in the league for a long time.